In Cade Courtly’s book “SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy Seal’s Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster”, he tells how a former teammate in Iraq had to improvise on a raid. He had to grab anything he could find to protect himself. He ended up using a toaster as a deadly weapon. This became the first American to get a confirmed kill with a small kitchen appliance. This is an example of creativity with fewer resources.

Creativity with fewer resources

In the 1980’s TV show “MacGyver”, secret agent and scientist Angus MacGyver used unconventional problem solving and improvised with ordinary objects like duct tape and a Swiss Army knife to get out of life and death situations in a matter of minutes. He would never use lethal means against his enemies; instead he relied on his extensive knowledge of science to save lives and stop crime.

The main reason MacGyver was so interesting was that he could do so much with so little. He could escape with a bobby pin, scotch tape, and a thumbtack. His last name even became a verb in the Oxford English dictionary:

“MacGyver – Make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.”

Prisoners have fewer resources

Other TV shows that showcase ingenious uses of limited resources are prison shows. Prisoners have very limited resources — and yet they are able to find ways around it.

They ferment old food and create homemade alcohol. To protect themselves, prisoners have made flame throwers out of coffee creamer and a tube, or a paper mache shank made out of a toilet paper roll.

Of course they have plenty of time on their hands to run through all of the options, but after being forced to survive and thrive with very little, they simply figure it out.

You can build your innovative muscles the same way – by forcing yourself to create solutions by limiting your resources. (Disruption may take resources away when you least expect it… so why not hone the skill to deal with it?)

Creativity innovation keynote speaker

As a creativity innovation keynote speaker I teach audiences how to be the most creative with the limited resources they have.